at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., December 10, 2014

A few years back former UFO and Scorpions guitarist, Michael Schenker was in a grim place. With erratic performances on stage and personal problems building up off, it looked like his star was well and truly on the wane.

Yet somehow he grabbed himself by the scruff of the neck, made an album with original MSG singer Gary Barden and slowly and surely turned his life well and truly around.

His last album Bridge The Gap heralded a serious return to form and Schenker has wisely retained the same line-up that made that record to work on the follow up, Spirit on a Mission, which us due out early next year.

Michael Schenker

With the rhythm section featuring former Scorpions band mates Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholtz on bass reuniting the classic Lovedrive era of the Scorpions that flickered briefly towards the end of the 70’s, along with former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White this was one powerhouse of a line-up.

With a rich back catalogue like Schenker’s covering well over 40 albums covering the Scorpions, UFO and his own MSG material, there was plenty to choose from and before the show Schenker promised crowd favourites, new songs and some that he hasn’t played in years and true to his word, this is exactly what we got.

Michael SchenkerA fit, lean Schenker looked a happy man as the crowd responded enthusiastically to some of his finest moments from UFO’s Lights Out and Natural Thing to Lovedrive and a truly magnificent instrumental, Coast to Coast by the Scorpions while Victim of Illusion and Into The Arena were taken from his classic MSG debut album. Vigilante Man saw Schenker heading into new territory which certainly bodes well for his forthcoming album with its driving hard yet melodic riff having all the hallmarks of classic Schenker.

Despite the odd problem with the sound mix, Doogie White handled songs originally sung by Klaus Meine, Phil Mogg and Gary Barden with ease showing why guitar greats Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen have worked with him in the past while guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay played the holding role of the band giving Schenker the space to weave his magic. This was a real team effort with Schenker leading from the front.

Michael Schenker

Sure there’ll be people who wanted to hear certain songs that weren’t played but after over one and a half hours and almost 20 songs, including a virtuoso performance during Rock Bottom, there were few complaints. The Schenker resurgence just keeps rolling on.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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